Star Trek has always been plagued with poor first seasons. The Original Series, The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine and Voyager all suffered from mediocre openings. However, Paramount’s latest series, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, finally breaks the series’ curse with the best show Paramount has released since Enterprise.
What is Star Trek: Strange New Worlds?
After the negative reception to four seasons of Discovery and two seasons of Picard, many believed Paramount was incapable of learning lessons. For over half-a-decade fans have wanted a Star Trek show that feels like Star Trek, and we finally have one.
A prequel to the original series, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds follows the USS Enterprise on her first five-year exploration to search out new life and new civilians. Helmed by Captain Pike, The Federation’s flagship is tasked with doing what Star Trek is all about: discovering more about the universe.
A few familiar faces are in attendance. Alongside Captain Pike, Science Officer Spock, Cadet Nyota Uhura and Lieutenant Samuel Kirk are here. If you’ve ever seen the original Star Trek pilot “The Cage”, there’s a lot of familiar characters.
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds abandons the season-long story of shows like Discovery and Picard. Instead, it’s a serialised episodic show where each episode is an all-new story. One episode can be about a deadly virus that’s come aboard the Enterprise whereas another is about the deadly Gorn.
It’s incredibly refreshing to see Strange New Worlds return to format of Star Trek proper. There’s less Riverdale-style drama and more thoughtful ethical dilemmas to solve. It also helps that characters act like Starfleet officers (Looking at you, Michael Burnham.) But is it any good?
Is Star Trek: Strange New Worlds any good?
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds is a marked improvement over Discovery and Picard. For starters, it’s a show that not only respects its characters, but respects Star Trek and what it represents.
One of the biggest issues with Discovery, along with its atrocious writing, was how it handled Starfleet. In Discovery, Starfleet and The Federation are overly-dramatic, conniving and downright maddening. In Strange New Worlds, they’re thoughtful and caring; the utopia that Gene Rodenberry wanted them to be.
Starfleet is about bringing people together through knowledge and exploration, and Strange New Worlds does that in spades. Unlike Discovery and Picard, the team of the Enterprise goes on away missions, exploring cultures and even abandoned civilisations. What happened here? And what can we learn from this?
Additionally, Strange New Worlds remembers that Star Trek should be hopeful, not dark and dour. In the first episode of Strange New Worlds, the Enterprise Crew have to infiltrate a civilisation that has acquired warp without any evidence of advanced space travel. How did they get warp capabilities? And what is this warp signature?
Without spoiling anything, the ending of the pilot episode immediately made it clear that Star Trek: Strange New Worlds is the best Trek show currently in production. It legitimately gave me chills to see the hopeful, intelligent, classic Star Trek back, and I’m eagerly awaiting more.
Do I need to watch Star Trek: Discovery before Star Trek: Strange New Worlds?
One of the best things about Star Trek: Strange New Worlds is that it’s almost entirely serrated from Star Trek: Discovery. In fact, you likely won’t need to watch that show at all to thoroughly enjoy this one.
There are a few references. For example, one of Captain Pike’s biggest character dilemmas comes from knowing his ultimate fate after touching a time crystal in Discovery. However, not only is everything easily explained in be first episode of this show, but it’s also a classic Trek fact anyways. The Menagerie, anyone?
There’s a few references to the Discovery and Michael Burnham scattered around, but that’s pretty much it. For the time being, it’s a standalone show, and it’s better for it.
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So, should I watch it?
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds is a must watch series, especially for fans who have felt hurt by modern Trek. It’s a return to form, back to basics series, and so far it’s amazing.
In less than one season, Strange New Worlds has made my Paramount Plus subscription worth it and reinvigorated my love for Star Trek. That’s a win-win right there!